EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has greenlighted Safe Space, a new original movie thriller starring Nicole Ari Parker (Chicago P.D., Empire) and her husband Boris Kodjoe (Soul Food), who also makes his directorial debut. Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Nik Sanchez (The Rookie) and Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians) also star. Production is currently underway, with premiere slated for 2022.
Written by Nneka Gerstle and directed by Kodjoe, Safe Space centers on recently widowed Lila Jackson (Ari Parker) and her 14-year-old, autistic son Ian (Sanchez). Since the death of her husband, Lila is grateful for their kind neighbor Neil Hargrove (Kodjoe), who looks out for them. After Ian accidentally witnesses a break-in in the house across the street and records the horrific murder of the homeowner, Lila becomes embroiled in a deadly struggle to protect her son from intruders Dominic (Astin) and Rocco (De Matteo), who will stop at nothing to retrieve the video evidence of the crime and silence them. Hiding and trapped in a makeshift panic room created by her late husband, Lila and Ian must use all of their strength and intelligence to outsmart the intruders to save themselves.
Additional cast members include Monica Calhoun who portrays Officer Armani and Julito McCullum as a repairman.
Lifetime has worked with the organization RespectAbility in review of the script to ensure as much authenticity as possible in the portrayal of Ian. The role of Ian is played by Nik Sanchez who is on the autism spectrum. As part of Lifetime’s advocacy efforts, resources to learn more about autism will be provided at the end of the film.
Safe Space is produced by Astute Films for Lifetime. Executive producers include Dominique Telson and Karen Kaufman Wilson.
Ari Parker is currently shooting the NBC pilot At That Age, and can be seen in a recurring role on NBC’s Chicago P.D.
Other recent TV credits include Fox’s Empire, Younger for TVLand and Star for Fox, among others. On the big screen, Ari Parker is best known in her breakout role as Becky in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar nominated Boogie Nights. Ari Parker is represented by Gersh and Vault Entertainment.
Kodjoe is best known for his role in the television series Soul Food which earned him three NAACP Award nominations. In 2019 he joined as a series regular in the Shonda Rhimes ABC series Station 19. He also appeared on the final season of House of Cards. Kodjoe is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.
De Matteo is best known for her role as Adriana on HBO’s The Sopranos, winning an Emmy and earning SAG and Golden Globe nominations for the role. She went on to star in NBC’s Joey, appeared in Desperate Housewives and was a series regular on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. She recently starred on the hit NBC drama, Shades of Blue, alongside Jennifer Lopez and ABC’s A Million Little Things. She’s repped by Innovative Artists and Untitled Entertainment.
Astin, the youngest son of actors Patty Duke and John Astin, became known at the age of 9 for his four-season run on 80’s TV show The Facts of Life. As an adult, his television credits include Homeland, Scandal, Shameless, House, Lost, and The Loudest Voice. Next up, Astin will be seen recurring in Netflix’s hit series You. Astin is repped by Authentic and Artists & Representatives.
Sanchez can also be seen recurring as Silas March on ABC’s The Rookie. He’s repped by Link Entertainment and Zuri Agency.
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